These are not new but one evening we had these two small dishes with sake.
We got a pound of salmon filet. When we get salmon filet, I always ask for the head portion because it includes the belly meat or “harasu” はらす (thin and oily). I usually separate this portion from the rest of the salmon so the two sections are of even thickness. Besides, the belly portion makes a good small appetizer. We had the rest of the salmon for dinner. (Diversion alert: for some reason the fish fillets sold here are not scaled. Maybe people don’t eat the skin? So however I cook the fish my first step in preparation is scaling them.)
I marinated the belly portion in “Yuuan-ji” 祐庵地 (soy sauce, mirin and sake in equal amounts) in a Ziploc bag for 30 minutes. I cut the belly into two pieces (one for me and the other for my wife) and skewered them using long flat metal skewers for Yakitori we got from Kappabashi 合羽橋 on our recent trip to Japan. The new skewers made my job much easier since they are long enough to span the length of the baking dish I use in the toaster oven (the ones we had before were too short). I grilled the meat side first and then the skin side to make the skin really crispy. I served this with daikon namasu 大根なます garnished with tobiko roe and slices of my Japanese cucumber pickles.
The second dish shown below is also grilled in the toaster oven. Whenever we get bone-in split chicken breast, I separate the tenderloins from the breast meat. I used two tenderloins for this appetizer (I used the rest of the breasts for chicken paillard). The tenderloins were soaked in sake (mostly to help preserve the meat). I skewered and lightly salted the tenderloins. Then, using the same type of flat metal skewers I used to grill the fish. I grilled the chicken on both sides in the toaster oven. When the meat was almost done, I smeared on some umeboshi 梅干し sauce (I removed the meat of umeboshi – I still have my mother’s home made – placed it in a Japanese Suribachi 擂鉢 mortar added mirin and ground it to paste). I grilled for 30 seconds more (mostly to warm up the sauce). I served it garnished it with chopped perilla from our herb garden.
These are nothing new but they are really good appetizers for sake. We had the rest of the salmon (pan fried and then finished in the oven with crispy skin) and rice for dinner.